AANMC member schools provide clinical experiences throughout the entire naturopathic medicine educational program. In order to advance their knowledge and specialization, 25-30% of naturopathic doctors pursue residencies after completing their degree.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) Residency?
An ND residency is a structured, post-graduate clinical program that gives you the opportunity to work directly with patients and naturopathic physicians in a hands-on, clinical setting. ND residencies can cover general primary care, or be focused on a patient population or condition. Residencies provide a strong foundation for new graduates to sharpen their clinical skills, work towards board certification, hone their business and professional skills and/or gain valuable mentorship in their early practice, which are formative years. The duration of a naturopathic doctor residency is typically one to three years.
While residencies are not mandatory for obtaining licensure and practicing in the US or Canada (with the exception of Utah), a significant number of NDs choose to undergo residencies before establishing independent practices. The mentorship and patient interactions available in a residency setting are highly regarded by new NDs as invaluable for advancing their clinical expertise.
What an ND Residency is Like
Residencies provide unique experiences, depending on the specific focus, resources, and personnel of each site. However, there are a few things you can expect to experience during your time as a resident.
Develop Your Clinical Skills
Residency can fill gaps in naturopathic training and provide real-world naturopathic principle application examples. During your residency, you will have more opportunities to work directly with patients of increasing case complexity and hone your clinical skills, especially in specialty areas, through hands-on experience and mentorship. 92% of participants in a 2023 AANMC Resident Satisfaction Survey noted they felt more prepared for a career in naturopathic medicine following the completion of an ND residency. As an ND resident, you are given opportunities to immerse yourself in complex patient cases and learn how to work successfully with MD/DO/NP and allied practitioners, primary care physicians, and specialists in the community on behalf of your patients. This environment encourages the further development of autonomy, allowing you to take ownership of your clinical decisions and navigate intricate scenarios, while receiving mentorship and guidance to help you along the way.
Get Practical Insights into What Goes into a Successful Practice
As a resident, you will witness the day-to-day operations that go into running a successful naturopathic clinical practice. This experience may prove invaluable later in your career if you choose to open a practice of your own. This type of practical insight empowers you to gain knowledge that is only possible through hands-on participation. An ND residency provides ample hands-on experience in managing a practice, opportunities to discover and refine your clinical value proposition, and practical experience that can be used towards building and expanding your own clinical practice model. Real-world experience puts everything you learn into action.
Build Your Confidence
Anyone beginning a career path is bound to feel some self doubt or imposter syndrome occasionally. Participating in a residency program lasting 1-3 years fosters confidence through mentorship, the acquisition of clinical skills, and professional development. This positions a resident exceptionally well for a successful and thriving career as a naturopathic doctor. You will get regular feedback from the successful ND(s) you work with, which will help you determine and develop your strengths. 92% of participants in a 2023 AANMC Resident Satisfaction Survey noted a boost in their clinical confidence following the completion of an ND residency.
Connect with a Network of NDs
A residency provides you with multiple opportunities to connect with naturopathic doctors and other professionals in the field of health and wellness. This can give you the opportunity to be mentored in a number of areas, including case management of acute and chronic patients, guidance aligned with your areas of clinical interest, advice on how to manage difficult cases, managing professional interactions with colleagues, and more.
Networking with a community of professionals in your field can provide you with valuable employment and professional development opportunities as well as mentorship and emotional support. The connections made during an ND residency are extremely valuable and can even lead to future opportunities in multiple career paths, such as clinical practice, writing, speaking, consulting, academic medicine and the healthcare world at large.
If you are interested in completing a residency, we have plenty of resources available to help you succeed, including a naturopathic residency site showcase, application and match FAQs, the residency match timeline, and more. For additional information, see our residencies page.